1992 Topps Traded

24 11 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1992 in the same manner as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132.  The set contains cards of rookies who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, new managers, and a Team USA subset. The design was the same as the base set.

Unlike the previous 11 years where the box design was the same with a different color each year, this year’s set was more colorful box that looked.  Topps also issued a flat retail-only blue-colored box similar to the “Holiday” factory sets for the flagship set.

Topps no longer issued the miniature Bronze Cards for dealers who ordered a case of the Traded sets, ending a tradition that went from 1983 to 1991.  Topps also didn’t release a Tiffany version of the set, instead issuing a parallel Topps Gold factory set that was limited to 6,000 sets.  For the Gold set, the checklist card was replaced with Kerry Woodson.

There are six cards of Reds 1990 World Champion members.

  • My favorite player, Eric Davis, left the team via free agency after the 1991 season.  He headed for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers where he would play with his childhood friend Darryl Strawberry.
  • Herm Winningham signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox after an unproductive 1991 season.
  • Mariano Duncan also left via Free Agency, signing with the Phillies, where he’s go on to play in another World Series in 1993.
  • Randy Myers was traded to the Padres in the offseason for Bip Roberts.  After Rob Dibble had proved a more effective closer, the Reds had unsuccessfully tried to move Myers to the rotation, and he thus became expendable.
  • Jack Armstrong was traded in the offseason, along with Scott Scudder, to the Indians for Greg Swindell.  Scudder didn’t get a card in the Topps Traded set.
  • Todd Benzinger was in the Traded set for the second straight year.  After the Reds traded him to the Royals in 1991, he was traded in the offseason to the Dodgers.

There are 3 Hall of Famers in the set.

  • Gary Carter was in his third straight traded set.  After 2 seasons as backup catcher for San Francisco and the Dodgers, Carter was claimed off waivers by his first team, the Expos, where he finished his career in that role.
  • Dave Winfield signed with the Blue Jays; he’d have 1 very good season to help them to the 1992 World Series title.
  • Eddie Murray signed with the Mets; he’d go on to 2 productive seasons with New York, including his 400th home run in the 1992 season.

The set also featured a Hall of Fame college coach.  For the 4th time, Topps had a Team USA subset.  Like the 1985 base set and the 1988 Traded set, this was the Olympic team.  Ron Fraser, who had just retired after 30 years as the Miami Hurricanes’ head baseball coach.  Unfortunately, Team USA went on to a disappointing 4th-place finish in baseball’s first year as a medal sport.

Topps featured the entire 25-man Olympic roster in the Topps Traded set, just as they had done for the 1991 Pan American Games roster.  There were a number of holdovers from the previous year’s set – most notably Jason Giambi.

There were really only two big rookie cards in this set. They were two pretty big ones, though especially considering that Boston’s future stars, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek, came from that same Team USA subset.  The Varitek card is particularly interesting – he refused to sign with Topps for most of his career, so this was his last Topps card until 2007.

Though nowhere near the same level as those, there were a few other rookies worth showing.

There were 5 guys who went on to some pretty significant careers AFTER they were featured in this set for moving teams.  Sammy Sosa was traded across town from the White Sox to the Cubs for former MVP George Bell – he’d only go on to have 4 straight 50 homer seasons and over 600 for his career.  Gary Sheffield hit over 500 homers for his career, and he vied for the triple crown in 1992 after being traded to the Padres. He didn’t win the triple crown, but he is still the only Padre other than Tony Gwynn with a batting title.  Curt Schilling would go on to pitch in 4 World Series (winning 3), Andres Galarraga would hit .370 and win a batting title of his own, while Kenny Lofton replaced Rickey Henderson as the best leadoff hitter in baseball.  Lofton played in 11 postseasons.

On the other side, there were quite a few guys who were traded or signed as free agents who didn’t quite live up to their past performance.  Jack Morris is a bit of an exception here – he did win 21 games in 1992 for the Blue Jays – and he played on both of their World Series champions.

Finally, this set is kind of cool because it features Felipe Alou as a manager for the Montreal Expos and his son Moises playing for the same team.  I’m not sure why Moises was in the set – he was traded to the Expos in 1990 and was shown with them on a 1991 Topps card, but it’s neat nonetheless.


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